Health > Dental Health > Teeth extraction
Dentists extract teeth for many reasons, but by far, the most common is that the patient is in pain and wants to relieve the pain as quickly, permanently and as inexpensively as possible. This does not mean that there are not other ways of relieving the pain. But the other methods are likely to be more expensive or inconvenient. Other reasons are:
1. The patient may choose extraction because the other alternatives are simply too expensive.
2. The dentist may decide that the tooth is not repairable, or may be impractical to repair under the circumstances, and extraction is the best of a bunch of bad alternatives. This includes teeth that are decayed below the gum line, or teeth that have lost too much bone due to periodontal disease.
3. Removal of the tooth may be a matter of health. This is the case in the decision to remove impacted wisdom teeth, teeth associated with cysts or tumors, or teeth that would otherwise compromise the patient's oral health if left in place. In some instances, an infected tooth can even bring a patient close to death by causing swelling that can stop breathing or initiating a brain abscess.
4. Teeth are frequently removed because they are crowded and their removal would create a situation which could be repaired in their absence. Orthodontists request extractions to give them more room to move teeth around. Dentists sometimes remove crowded front teeth and replace them with bridges, removable partial dentures or implants.
What To Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
- Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat—such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out—for the following 2 or 3 days.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
- After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. In addition, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgery area.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
After a wisdom tooth is removed, you may experience:
- Pain and swelling in your gums and tooth socket where the tooth was removed.
- Bleeding that won't stop for about 24 hours.
- Difficulty with or pain from opening your jaw (trismus).
- Slow-healing gums.
- Damage to existing dental work, such as crowns or bridges, or to roots of a nearby tooth.
- A painful inflammation called dry socket, which happens if the protective blood clot is lost too soon.
- Numbness in your mouth and lips after the local anesthetic wears off, due to injury or inflammation of nerves in the jaw.
- Rare side effects, including:
- Numbness in the mouth or lips that does not go away.
- A fractured jaw if the tooth was firmly attached to the jaw bone.
- An opening into the sinus cavity when a wisdom tooth is removed from the upper jaw.
Dental surgery may cause bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. People who have difficulty fighting off infections may need to take antibiotics before and after dental surgery. This includes those who have:
- Damaged or artificial heart valves.
- Heart defects they have had since birth.
- An impaired immune system.
- Liver disease (cirrhosis).
- Artificial joints, such as a hip replacement.
- A history of endocarditis.